Israeli bulldozers demolish homes in the Neve Dekalim settlement in the Gaza Strip, August 31, 2005.
(photo credit: MOTI MILROD / REUTERS)
Expelling terrorists’ families from their towns in the West Bank is a deterrent, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted in the Knesset on Monday.
“In my opinion, its benefits are greater than its costs,” Netanyahu said in a Likud faction meeting. He responded to MK Bennie Begin, the sole Likud lawmaker who expressed opposition to the proposal, on grounds that it is ineffective.
Netanyahu said: “The lawmakers say it goes against legal guidelines as they’re defined, and this will surely be challenged in court, but I have no doubt in the effectiveness of this tool.”
The prime minister’s comments came a day after the Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted in favor of a bill by Bayit Yehudi MK Moti Yogev with backing from Education Minister Naftali Bennett, which would allow the army to expel family members of a terrorist from their home
, by removing them from their town or city, or demarcating an area in which they are not allowed to enter.
Should it pass into law, it would only apply to cases in which the family knew about the terrorist’s plans and encouraged him or her. In addition, the terrorist would have had to have killed or attempted to kill someone.
The ministers’ vote on the bill was delayed until late Sunday night so that the security cabinet could hear assessments about the proposal.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit opposed it, with his office releasing a statement on Monday that the bill is unconstitutional, in that “the authority proposed to be legislated severely harms the freedom and property of the relatives designated to be expelled, because of an action of another relative and without proof that they themselves are dangerous.”
In addition, Mandelblit expressed concerns about international legal challenges to the bill.
Although Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon took Mandelblit’s position into consideration more than other coalition partners, he said that he would support the bill, as well as another coalition bill requiring the government to legalize certain outposts within two years.
The second bill does not include a specific list, but Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich proposed it after a government-appointed committee recommended 70 outposts for legalization.
Those two bills are part of a legislative package right-wing activists demanded following last week’s wave of Palestinian terror in the West Bank that injured several people and took three Israeli lives, including that of a three-day-old baby whose birth was induced after his mother was shot in the stomach.
Both are expected to go to a preliminary vote in the Knesset on Wednesday.
Since Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman also expressed support for the bills, they are expected to easily get a parliamentary majority.
Another bill meant to deter terrorists moved forward on Monday. The proposal to bar convicted terrorists from requesting that their prison sentence be shortened by a third was approved in committee for a final vote, planned for next Monday.
The committee softened the bill, in that it will only apply to terrorists who murdered or attempted to murder, rather than all terrorists.